March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and March 8 was International Women’s Day. Beehive is celebrating both with a month-long recognition of women leaders who inspire our team in the hopes of inspiring others.
Today, it’s our honor to feature Jennifer Johnson, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Prime Therapeutics. Jennifer focuses on strategic transformational marketing and oversees brand strategy, digital/social media, public relations, product promotion, sales marketing, consumer insights, and internal/external communications. She has more than 20 years of experience in both agency and corporate settings and a range of experience in industries from health care to retail and consumer.
What advice or support was most valuable for you as you have grown in your career?
I keep a running journal of advice that I’ve gotten throughout the years. I refer to it often, particularly if I’m feeling stuck.
When I was younger a piece of advice that particularly stood out to me was: It doesn’t matter who gets the credit. When you’re younger, sometimes you can feel very concerned about making a name for yourself, making an impact and growing in your career. In life, everything is team-based and everyone plays different, important roles. As long as the end goal for the team has a positive impact on the company, that’s what matters.
Over the past few years, I’ve been driving forward a lot of change initiatives and I was new to a leadership role. I received some great advice from a female CEO after I shared that I was feeling spread thin and struggling to figure out where to focus, especially as it related to helping & mentoring others. I didn’t know how to fit that into my everyday responsibilities. The advice was: You don’t have to give a lot of time to give a lot. Sometimes a 10–15-minute conversation might be all that someone needs. I try to practice this when anyone asks for help. I focus on what can be accomplished in 10-15 minutes and where I can provide value.
What is a key challenge you have experienced as a woman leader and how have you overcome it?
As we grow in leadership roles, the challenges and issues we face grow in comparison. I’ve embraced surrounding myself with strong leaders and understanding that I won’t have all the answers. When I need more information or to solve a complex issue, we pull more brains together. What’s exciting to me is continuing to make progress and showcasing our ever-evolving ability to grow. It keeps my energy high and shows we can tackle hard things as a team.
How can women be a strong mentor or resource to other women?
Get involved in things that support women within your organization and in the community. If you’re willing to have conversations and mentor others, let them know!
If you are asking someone for advice, be sure to prepare. It can be difficult to provide insights or help if mentors don’t know what issues you’re looking to solve. If you do get the opportunity to connect with a mentor, share what you need in advance. And always be willing to offer what you can do for the mentor in the future — it will differentiate and position you as a helpful resource.